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‘Endlessly Wild and Wonderful’ U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree celebration comes to Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —The 2023 Capitol Christmas Tree is staged at the 84 Lumber Yard wrapped in a banner for all to sign as it makes the journey to the U.S. Capitol.

Tom Bloom

The 1,000-mile journey from the Monongahela National Forest to the U.S. Capitol called “Endlessly Wild and Wonderful” is a partnership with Choose Outdoors, 84 Lumber, and the Society of American Foresters.

Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom said at Friday’s ceremony the tree generates excitement for him and provides hope for unity. Bloom hopes the trip from the Mountain State to Washington, D.C., will generate national attention that will pull us all closer together.

“In a time right now where there are problems and polarization, I’m hoping we’ll kick off an event tomorrow that will go nationwide,” Bloom said. “We need to work together and solve our problems together, and I think this tree will do it for us.”

Project Manager for the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree project, Amy Albright, said their staff combed nearly one million acres in Monongahela National Forest to pinpoint the 63-foot-tall Norway Spruce.

Amy Albright

“They were looking for trees that were 60 to 80 feet tall, perfectly cone-shaped, full branches, straight stems, and pretty from 360 degrees because they get placed in the middle of the U.S. Capitol lawn and can be viewed from all angles,” Albright said.

Drivers for Werner, Tim Dean and Jesus Davila, have been with the tree since it was harvested and have been transporting it throughout the state. Using two-way radios, Dean and Davila work together when the delivery zones are tight in urban areas to safely position the tree for each event.

“I achieved five million miles of accident-free driving. so that contributed to selecting me as one of two drivers to move this precious cargo from West Virginia to the United States Capitol,” Dean said.

Jesus Davila

Davila joined Werner in 2018 and has 550,000 accident-free miles, while Dean has been with the company for 35 years and was recently one of only two drivers in company history to complete five million accident-free miles.

“It’s all about making sure we get where we have to go safely,” Dean said. “Whether I’m pulling an 80-foot tree or driving my semi every day, I’m driving it the same way I drive my truck, and it’s all about getting there safely and protecting those around me.”

Albright said completing the project and finishing the journey to the U.S. Capitol will likely be emotional for her, but she’ll be able to keep the memories from each community. One of those memories will be collecting the handmade ornaments for this tree and others at Joint Base Andrews and offices throughout Washington, D.C.

Tim Dean

“We had asked for 10,000 ornaments, and they showed up with 14,000 ornaments, so it’s just a testament to how much this means to communities across the state.”

Saturday, the celebration and the tree will move to the Courthouse Square in Morgantown from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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